Having helmed movies such as Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express and Fame, it should come as no surprise that Alan Parker is able to run a tight ship. I get the impression that the man knows exactly what he wants to achieve in a movie and simply sets about achieving it. With a cast of mostly first-time actors Parker certainly had his work cut out for him directing The Commitments, but as usual the North London lad makes good.
Set in Dublin, Ireland, we follow the escapades of small time entrepreneur Jimmy Rabitte, Robert Arkins, whose real talent, he decides, lies in the creation and management of a band - an Irish soul band, to be more precise. A quick placement of an advertisement in the local rag sees Dublin's “artistes” searching out the Rabitte household - a household where Elvis is worshipped above the Pope himself. And so the auditioning process begins, with Jimmy as the soul judge (no pun intended) - and the guy makes Pop Idol's Simon Cowell seem quite lame! Star of the band is undoubtedly 16 year old Andrew Strong who plays obnoxious lead singer Decco Cuffe whose voice, and mannerisms, is a mix between Marti Pellow and Joe Cocker. It doesn't take long for mini-stardom to go to the band member's heads, though, and soon enough they all begin to suffer the “Prima Donna” effect. With the possibility of soul-great Wilson Pickett jamming with the band and setting them on the way to true stardom, it is up to Jimmy to keep the band from self-destruction.
I really love this movie - each character has a down to earth and believable quality... it really does feel as though the actors are playing themselves and the music is foot-stompingly classy throughout. Considering the measly twelve million dollar budget it really is remarkable what has been achieved here. Do we get a worthy DVD release? Read on to find out...
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